Gov. Abbott declares State of Disaster for Texas sending ‘thousands’ more troopers amid protests

Governor Greg Abbott coronavirus press conference May 5 2020

Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, delivers remarks during a press conference on May 5, 2020, updating the public on the state’s response to COVID-19. (Nexstar Photo/Wes Rapaport)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Following days of protests around the nation, Gov. Abbott declared a State of Disaster for all of Texas Sunday afternoon.

Abbott’s office said this move was to protect the public amid violent protests that could endanger public safety and threaten property damage.

In a more recent announcement on Sunday, Gov. Abbott ordered thousands more troopers and more than one thousand National Guard to assist the Department of Public Safety and local law enforcement in Austin, Houston, Dallas and San Antonio.

Under this disaster declaration Abbott has the power to designate federal agents to serve as Texas Peace Officers.

“Every Texan and every American has the right to protest and I encourage all Texans to exercise their First Amendment rights,” said Gov. Abbott. 

“However, violence against others and the destruction of property is unacceptable and counterproductive. As protests have turned violent in various areas across the state, it is crucial that we maintain order, uphold public safety, and protect against property damage or loss.

“By authorizing additional federal agents to serve as Texas Peace Officers we will help protect people’s safety while ensuring that peaceful protesters can continue to make their voices heard.”

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